Magazine article Geographical

Testing Prevention: In 2004, Botswana Became the First Country in the World to Offer Routine HIV Testing. Tsetsele Fantan of Botswana NGO African Comprehensive AIDS Partnerships Explains How the Offer of Testing and Treatment Is Also Helping with Prevention

Magazine article Geographical

Testing Prevention: In 2004, Botswana Became the First Country in the World to Offer Routine HIV Testing. Tsetsele Fantan of Botswana NGO African Comprehensive AIDS Partnerships Explains How the Offer of Testing and Treatment Is Also Helping with Prevention

Article excerpt

"We in Botswana inherited a stringent approach towards testing from the West, which said that in order to perform an HIV test you needed the individual's permission after a long counselling session. But we found that very few people were requesting the test, because the implications were very serious. Because of this, doctors had their hospital wards full of people dying of AIDS-related illnesses, but could never actually treat them.

But when the government introduced the ARV treatment programme in 2002, we felt that it was no longer necessary for people to not know their status: somebody knowing they are HIV+ is no longer a death sentence if treatment is available. So, since January 2004, whenever people interact with the health system, the healthcare provider now offers the opportunity of a test. The feedback that we are getting from the clinics is that more than 80 per cent of the people who are being offered are accepting the testing. …

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